October 19-22, 2017
Brooklyn, NY

Cory Levinson

Website | Twitter

Cory is an {engineer, analyst, artist} with an interest in {data, social, spatial, sonic} environments and infrastructures. Most recently he was in Strelka Institute’s The New Normal research program led by Benjamin Bratton. His individual research interests there involved rethinking ways of relating to large scale software platforms. Previously he was working at SoundCloud as the product manager for their data infrastructure team. His work there involved building out SoundCloud’s analytics infrastructure, and working on guidelines for how engineering teams codify roles & responsibilities for datasets in large scale engineering organizations. Other personal interests include functional programming, blockchain technologies, mesh networks.



When thinking about the future of decentralized communication networks, we often overlook the mechanisms by which these networks source their electricity. Innovation in battery technologies are making renewable sources of energy more feasible than ever before, so it's time that we start thinking about what peer to peer means for energy production. In addition to improving resilience for energy infrastructure and moving consumers away from fossil fuels, a peer to peer energy system can play a crucial role in providing network infrastructure to rural areas and remote communities, allowing for networks that are autonomous not just in their communication protocols, but in how they get electricity as well.

This talk will present Phi, a speculative software platform for simulating and creating networks of renewable energy infrastructure as well as the token based protocols that govern energy exchange within networks. Phi was developed with a small team of interdisciplinary researchers while at Strelka’s The New Normal research program in the first half of this year.

Computational networks index the consumption electrical energy, from global data centers that together consume more electricity than large countries, to the energy intensive proof-of-work consensus mechanism at the base of blockchain networks such as Bitcoin or Ethereum. In an effort to rethink the relationship between computation and energy, Phi proposes a digital jurisdiction focused on using peer-to-peer networks to distribute renewable energy resources. Social obligation, rather than the consumption of electricity, becomes the source of value and network stability. In the initial phase, a web-based simulation app enables people to explore potential effects of decentralised energy, currency, and governance on their lives. Later, Phi becomes a decentralised autonomous organisation (DAO) to facilitate investment in peer-to-peer energy networks that manage resources according to simulations and predictions of the climate system.

Phi Links

Phi Website
Phi Github
Simulation Environment